‘Pride and Glory’ nothing but long, chatty and cliched

Posted Oct. 26, 2008, at 5:53 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6:02 a.m.

In theaters

PRIDE AND GLORY, directed by Gavin O’Connor, written by O’Connor and Joe Carnahan, 129 minutes, rated R.

This week, those seeking a dose of something fresh at the cineplex won’t find it as Hollywood has released two additions to two lucrative franchises (“High School Musical 3,” “Saw V”), as well as the derivative cop drama “Pride and Glory,” which audiences have seen so many times before in so many better movies, it quickly becomes clear why its studio held up its release for the better part of two years.

The film is junk.

Director Gavin O’Connor co-wrote the script with Joe Carnahan, and what they have created is an overly long movie crippled with canned dialogue and sucked free of surprises. There isn’t a moment in this film that isn’t telegraphed, which is a bit of a problem for those who prefer an air of mystery in a movie that sells itself as such.

Set in Manhattan and fittingly shot in the bluish hues of a corpse, the film stars Edward Norton as Ray Tierney, an Irish-American cop having all sorts of problems.

Not only is he literally living in a sinking boat (subtle!) and dealing with a wife (Carmen Ejogo) who has left him, but Ray also has been urged by the chief of detectives — his drunk of a father, Francis Sr. (Jon Voight) — to lead the investigation into why four cops were gunned down in a bloody drug bust.

For Ray, the complications start from the get-go, most of which stem from his family. Since Ray’s brother, Francis Jr. (Noah Emmerich), was in charge of those cops, it’s Ray’s job to question what went wrong and whether Francis Jr. had any involvement in their deaths. He picks and he digs, but doing so is difficult. Francis’ wife (Jennifer Ehle), after all, is dying of cancer, so the situation is tense.

Worse for Ray is that his sketchy brother-in-law Jimmy (Colin Farrell) is a dirty cop who can’t be trusted for reasons the movie makes immediately clear. Jimmy has a way with children that’s repellent. Those who see the movie will know what I mean.

As this relentlessly chatty film unravels — slowly, violently, methodically — and Ray comes closer to a truth most will see coming long before he does, the movie has gobbled up and spit out so many cliches about brotherhood, loyalty, Irish families and cops, the otherwise strong cast is consumed and laid to waste in the process.

But don’t pity them. Before they signed on, they presumably read the script.

Grade: D+

On DVD and Blu-ray disc

Flooding the market just in time for the holiday shopping season are a slew of new DVD and Blu-ray releases, a few titles of which are worth noting. Among them is “The 4400: Complete Series,” which will remind plenty of “Heroes” (only it’s better) as it follows humans with superhuman powers — and all the high and lows that go along with those powers.

Anarchy is everywhere in that series, as it is in “Little Rascals: The Complete Collection,” which at last finds Darla on DVD, along with the rest of the Our Gang cast, in their first appearance in a complete boxed set. The collection is a boon of Depression-era outrageousness, with each of the 80 shorts fully remastered.

Two television shows from Paramount are recommended, the best of which is the fifth season of “Girlfriends,” a fine option for those seeking an alternative to “Sex and the City.” The show isn’t as daring or as baring (it didn’t, after all, appear on HBO), but its humor is cheeky and it does tackle similar issues, with its four female leads fighting to make it in Los Angeles. Joining them there are the women in the groundbreaking Showtime series “The L Word,” the fifth season of which continues to follow the lives of several Los Angeles lesbians, most of whom resist stereotyping.

The summer blockbuster “Journey to the Center of the Earth” is just out on DVD and Blu-ray disc. It comes with four pairs of 3-D glasses, which are helpful in viewing Brendan Fraser and company as they face all sorts of unwanted oddities and adventures at Earth’s core. The movie is better than expected, as is Disney’s straight-to-DVD and Blu-ray title, “Tinker Bell,” whose swift storyline and excellent animation likely will leave its target audience of tots happy to clap for fairies.

Rounding out the week are the slight first season of the urban comedy “Sister, Sister” (skip it), the third season of “How I Met Your Mother” (don’t miss it), and “The Alice Faye Collection, Vol. 2,” a mixed set of five Faye films from Fox.

First up in that set is 1939’s “Rose of Washington Square,” with Faye cast opposite a smoldering Tyrone Power (did he ever not smolder?); 1939’s “Hollywood Cavalcade,” with Don Ameche and Faye appearing in the duo’s weakest film; 1941’s “The Great American Broadcast,” in which Faye sings a terrific version of Harry Warren’s “Where You Are”; and 1943’s “Hello, Frisco, Hello,” which is the best film of the set.

Here, Faye sings her classic “You Never Know,” as well as “Pick on Me” and “The Grizzly Bear.” The set concludes on a bum note with “Four Jills in a Jeep,” which feels so slapped together, it brings this collection to a screeching halt.

WeekinRewind.com is the site for Bangor Daily News film critic Christopher Smith’s blog, DVD giveaways and archive of movie reviews. Smith’s reviews appear Mondays, Fridays and weekends in Lifestyle, as well as on bangordailynews.com. He may be reached at Christopher@weekinrewind.com.

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